Thursday, February 22, 2018

Even If You Have Next to Nothing, You Can Still Give


The Gift of Yourself

When I lived in the Lower Height district of San Francisco, I drove for an AIDS food bank in my rusted-out little car I had driven across the country from West Virginia. I had arrived in the mid-eighties, which we may all remember as the height of the AIDS crisis. My best friend delivered meals to patients in their homes and I gave rides and also hauled groceries donated to the food bank by the Church Street Tunnel. One early morning, I was walking to the Market and Church Street MUNI station and there it was with giant pink letters announcing itself as a place to lend a hand for the AIDS cause. I went in and within two minutes had a shift and assignments for the week.  Plus everyone in there seems extremely cool to me and they were not grim at all but seemed to have a mission of importance.  It seemed such a small way to help during that scary time but I also learned that whatever you can give, large or small, it is important to give of yourself. And it all does add up. Feeding America is the LARGEST hunger relief organization the United States and they need YOU. Please visit www.feedingamerica.org to find your local food bank or hunger organization. Get involved and you’ll make a difference and you’ll make friends along the way. I sure did and they remain my friends to this day.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Power of the Human Heart: Celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Week!


 When I was working on the Random Acts of Kindness campaign, it was an incredibly joy-filled work experience. I usually do love what I do but this took it to a whole new level. My work was not just about helping my company or paying my rent for the month, it suddenly really meaning something. We were making the world a better place, one act of kindness at a time. There was literally electricity in the air and we arrived at work each day to see what miracles had happened overnight while we were sleeping.

I remember the first day we knew everything had really changed - we found out through the US mail. Usually we only had a dozen or so pieces of mail, bills mostly and a few queries, letters from readers or an order or two. One day, the mailman knocked and said, "I need help here." He had BAGS of letters from people all over the country and a TON of ones with suggestions of acts of kindness. There were laughter and tears as we sat down on the floor and tore open the envelopes reading aloud from the letters. Some were in children's big blocky letters (these usually had the best ideas of kindness) and others in elder's careful script. I treasure that memory as I saw the power of the human heart that day.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Helping Those to Help Themselves

We all remember the Biblical parable about teaching a man to fish so he can provide for himself and his family. Two thousand years later, we can do exactly this. My dad taught me how to fish in a pond back home on the farm in West Virginia and, even as a 7 year-old, I could not help but notice that we not only got a couple day’s worth of yummy trout for our efforts but my papa, a former Marine with many battle scars to show for it, seemed so relaxed after an afternoon at the pond. You can gift in a loved one’s name a $49 fishing kit or up to $100 for a daily goat to Action against Hunger (www, ActionAgainstHunger.org), which feeds over 7 million, people each year. Go fish!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Cook It Forward

 If you love to cook and love to help people, this might be the option for you; teaching cooking classes and offering your services as a free guide to getting the healthiest groceries at the best prices via Cooking matters, a division of Share Our Strength. What I love about this is that it is personal and oh-so practical. www.CookingMatters.org pairs you up with your local group and you can bake up a lot of love while showing others how to do the same

Monday, January 22, 2018

Love Lifts You Up

If you have frequent flier miles you are not planning to use, give them to service members who have been injured in the line of duty and need to be flown to get proper medical treatment. This can also enable family members to visit.  Check out fisherhouse.org to discover all you need to know about Fisher House Foundation’s Hero Miles Program. Love has an enormous power to heal so sharing your unused miles stretches YOUR love a mighty long way!


Monday, January 15, 2018

Martin Luther King Day of Service

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ” - Martin Luther King, Jr.


I am very happy to see that, thanks to Selma, a new generation of young people and moviegoers are learning about the man who stood among his brothers like Bayard Rustin and John Lewis to fight for the rights of their people and other minorities.  Find a project in your community or register your own project through http://mlkday.gov/ It has occurred to me that many presidents share the legal holiday in February but there is only one day for the courageous Dr. King.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Lend an Ear

Counselors can contribute enormously to our troops when the return back at the end of their service term. I honestly think my Ex-Marine dad has PTSD but that posttraumatic stress was not even acknowledged until long after the Viet Nam War and only through the activism of many.  Therapists and mental health professionals can really help our military veterans by volunteering their own service through the organization Give an Hour (giveanhour.org) and this is extremely helpful to families of vets. Listening can change lives for the better here in a big way.